That's right folks, at my Wyoming Farm Bureau Legislative Meeting earlier this week, Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis told us some very interesting news - The Endangered Species Act (ESA) expired, as in lapsed, 17 years ago!
To say she had a captive audience at that point in her talk was an understatement.
So, why are we still dealing with it? Because, the Appropriations Committee and leadership in general in Washington D.C. continue to fund it. As long as a program is funded, it continues to operate just as written, despite being expired.
I am not kidding.
So, for 17 years, the ESA has continued, based solely the fact that it had the money to do so. As Rep. Lummis noted, continuing funding for programs that are expired provides no stakeholder incentive to come forward and help reform the program. As a result, we cannot get the ESA eliminated, or at the very least changed to meet its original focus in modern times, as long as it continues to be mindlessly funded without intent of reform.
What can we do? Spread the word, and talk to our senators and representatives! Call, email, attend a local hearing or meeting and let them know how wrong that is.
If I remember correctly, Rep. Lummis stated that $9 billion annually is funded to programs whose authorizations have expired, under the Appropriations committee alone!